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Woman Accused of Punching Cop Over Sign

November 7, 2006

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) _ A 69-year-old woman who was charged with assaulting a police officer has turned around and filed a complaint against him for the incident, which stemmed from a political sign she had put up.

The incident started last Wednesday when Marion Munk, a ceramics instructor at a community college, said she noticed a handmade political sign she’d left on a street corner near her house was knocked to the ground.

Munk said she stopped at the corner, where Public Service Electric & Gas Co. crews were working, to find out why her sign, which was against incumbent Democrats, was down on the ground but two signs in favor of the Democrats were up.

``I asked them, ’Who did this?‴ Munk told The Star-Ledger of Newark for Saturday’s newspapers. ``But they just wanted me out of the way.″

Munk said Sgt. Wayne Vakulchik, an officer who was there directing traffic, grabbed the sign from her, at which point she ``pushed him out of the way.″

In the police report of the incident, Vakulchik said Munk punched him in the chest and that the sign was in the way of the PSE&G workers so they took it down, police said.

Munk, who was charged with disorderly conduct and assaulting a police officer, said she was handcuffed to a wall at police headquarters for more than four hours after her arrest. She’s filed a complaint with the police department.

Vakulchik ``just yanked me around,″ Munk told the Home News Tribune of East Brunswick.

Capt. Richard Ivone of the Piscatway Police Department said an internal affairs investigation would be conducted on Munk’s complaint against Vakulchik, which cites excessive force. Ivone said the utility workers at the scene witnessed the whole incident, ``so we should get this wrapped up pretty quickly.″

Munk is scheduled to appear in court next Thursday.

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